Free Regular Expressions Builders and Testers

Interactive coach to build your regex and test them

Free Interactive Regular Expression (Regex) Testers and Builders

The free software on this page are either regular expression (or "regex") coaches or builders that will help you create an appropriate regex rule for your purposes. Some, or perhaps most of them, will also allow you to test that rule against a sample text so that you can check that your regular expression does what you think it does. Some of them also allow you to provide, as input, a regex rule, and they will translate that rule into English (normal language), along with examples, so that you can find out what a particular obscure regex does. Even if you are a regex guru, the regex testing and debugging facilities can be helpful in tracking down a pesky bug that slipped through because of carelessness (everyone makes mistakes some time).

I personally use the commercial RegexBuddy. Besides being able to generate regular expressions for use in different languages (eg, PHP with preg, PHP with ereg, Perl, C#, Delphi, Java, Python, Ruby, VB.NET, JavaScript/ECMAScript, PCRE, RealBasic, Visual Basic 6, VBScript, etc) and explain a regex rule in plain English, it can also be used to test and debug the regex rules, show how an expression matches test data, and so on.

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Free Interactive Regular Expression (Regex) Testers and Builders

The Regex Coach: Interactive Regular Expressions (for Perl) (Windows)

This freeware lets you experiment with Perl regular expressions interactively by showing you whether your regex matches a particular string, which parts of the target string correspond to parts of your regular expression or the captured registers, single step through a regexp rule, read the description of your regular expression in plain English, etc. The program is free for private and non-commercial use. This is a Windows program, although an old Linux version is still available.

Expresso Regular Expression Development Tool (for .NET) (Windows)

This tool allows you to build regular expressions for .NET programs (Visual Basic, C# or C++) interactively by selecting items from its dialog boxes. You can then test the expression created against your test data. It displays all matches in a tree structure, showing captured groups (registers), etc. You can also build replacement strings (for search and replace operations), and test them. You will need to register to use the tool, although registration is free. This is a Windows program, requiring the .NET framework.

Regulazy and Regulator (for .NET) (Windows)

Regulazy lets you create regular expressions using a point and click interface. It generates code for VB.NET and C#. Regulator allows you test your regular expressions against any text input, file or the web. It displays the matching, splitting and replacement results in a hierarchical tree.

QuickREx (for Java) (Windows)

This free regex tool is designed for you to test regular expressions written for Java. It supports the JDK regular expressions, the Jakarta ORO Perl-based regular expressions, the Jakarta ORO Awk-style regular expressions, JRegex and Jakarta-Regexp. You basically supply the tool with your regexp, your test text, and it shows you the result of the test. This facility also allows you to use it as a sort of GUI-based grep utility. This is an open source program for Windows.

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